Snacks maker Haldiram’s has decided to turn investor and mentor for the nation’s consumer products start-ups. It plans to collaborate with Venture Catalyst (VCats), an integrated incubator and investment platform, for its foray.

While Haldiram’s has not disclosed the corpus, it plans to invest in 10-15 consumer products goods start-ups over the next two years with the help of VCats, which has already incubated start-ups such as men’s grooming brand Beardo, female hygiene brand PeeSafe and herbal energy shot drink FYRE.

Haldiram’s move comes in at a time when several large domestic legacy companies and MNCs in the FMCG sector are actively looking to tap the flourishing start-ups in this segment. FMCG giant Unilever recently invested in Pureplay Skin Sciences (India) Pvt Ltd, which sells the Plum brand of of skincare products, through its venture capital and private equity arm, Unilever Ventures. Last year, Colgate-Palmolive invested in online men’s grooming firm Bombay Shaving Company. United Spirits Ltd has invested in HipBar, a Bengaluru-based online drinks ordering platform. Home-grown FMCG company Marico has acquired Ahmedabad-based men’s grooming start-up Beardo.

“Haldiram’s has established its position as a leader, risk-taker and quality seeker in the industry. We have always strived to focus on identifying market opportunities and make the best use of them through product diversification and listening to the consumer intently. We want to share the knowledge acquired over the years and contribute to the burgeoning start-up ecosystem in the country,” said a company spokesperson.

The $50-billion FMCG sector in India is growing at a strong 7-10 per cent, with the massive growth in young population, increasing disposable incomes and awareness about brands and certain products and this presents a unique opportunity for start-ups in this segment, even in smaller towns, according to industry experts.

Haldiram’s was started in 1937 from Bikaner in Rajasthan. “We started when starting a business was not a ‘trend’ but an extremely difficult, highly uncertain step. Today, it has become one of India’s most recognised and loved brand whose success is a benchmark for other businesses,” the spokesperson said, adding that the partnership with VCats will help achieve the purpose as it has encouraged the growth of the start-up culture even in tier II and III cities.

VCats founder Apoorv Ranjan Sharma said: “The alliance with Haldiram’s sets a benchmark for other enterprises to enter into active collaborations that look to empower the start-up ecosystem. The Haldiram’s growth story and the way in which they have built an empire from the ground up — this is the ideal example that we want to set for the enterprises that are a part of the VCats set-up right now.”

Anuj Golecha, VCats co-founder, added that the association with Haldiram’s will give the start-ups in Vcats’ consumer products goods portfolio an immense boost with knowledge, confidence and resource opportunities to achieve robust growth and scale quickly.